Dominican authorities bust a major deed forgery ring including top government officials - An alleged ring which forged property titles, involving a suspect of conning the baseball player Julio Lugo out of RD$50 million, Judicial Branch employees, a Supreme Court auditor among them, and a Police colonel, was uncovered, with four people arrested and two others being sought.

Police chief Rafael Guzmán Fermín went personally to detain Supreme Court auditor Giovanni Santana.

In press conference accompanied by Titles Registry director Wilson Gomez, National District prosecutor Alejandro Moscoso said it was a powerful ring which forged property titles, formed by recognized forgers, military, employees of the Supreme Court and of the Real Estate Jurisdiction.

Also arrested was Edwin Baquero, who has a pending process together with another person for the forgery of a deed to a lot in the upscale sector Las Praderas, with which Julio Lugo was swindled.

Also detained were Walter Lendor and Edwin Sanchez, employees of the Real Estate Jurisdiction, and Police lieutenant colonel Luis Emilio Gutiérrez.

The Judicial Branch employees are accused of providing logistical support to the forgery structure which managed to swindle several people out of tens of millions of pesos. Also arrested was the lawyer Carlos Vásquez Parra in his law offices, while investigators continue the search for Oliver Fiallo and Henry Melenciano.

The Judicial employees were arrested in their work places, whereas Baquero was detained in his residence where documents were seized, said prosecutor, and which prove he headed the network which forged titles, mostly for government lands located in country the tourism zones.

Gomez said for many years the network forged the signatures of public notaries and subtracted documents and public information, obtained through the Judicial Branch employees. "That ring has been working for many many years and is one of the most organized, for the crime these people counted on the active participation of those who were within the institution."

The forged documents correspond to government agencies such as the National Assets Administration, National Housing Bank, Internal Taxes Agency and to Executive Branch decrees.

Go back | Date: 18 Dec 2009
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